Saturday, March 29, 2014
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Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 1

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[March 29, 2014]  COLUMBUS, Ohio — Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 1: Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett scored goals 47 seconds apart midway into the third period as visiting Pittsburgh clinched a playoff spot for the eighth straight season. Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing skid and swept their five-game season series against Columbus. Captain Sidney Crosby added an assist for his league-leading 97th point.

Defenseman James Wisniewski netted a power-play goal for the Blue Jackets, who remained even in points with Detroit, Toronto and Washington in pursuit for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. Curtis McElhinney stopped 29 shots while filling in for the injured Sergei Bobrovsky.

Neither team could generate any scoring in the opening two periods, but Kunitz fired a shot from the high slot that found a way past McElhinney at 10:35 of the third. Bennett doubled the advantage on the ensuing shift.

With Kunitz serving a tripping penalty, Wisniewski blasted a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle with 3:06 remaining in the game. Fleury stopped 14 of 15 shots in the final 20 minutes for his first victory in six starts.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Pittsburgh finished 0-for-4 on the power play after going 0-for-7 in a loss to Los Angeles on Thursday. … Bobrovsky was pulled from Tuesday’s game due to an illness. … Pittsburgh outscored Columbus 16-7 in the season series.

[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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